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Nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) is an unsupervised learning method useful in various applications including image processing and semantic analysis of documents. This paper focuses on symmetric NMF (SNMF), which is a special case of NMF decomposition. Three parallel multiplicative update algorithms using level 3 basic linear algebra subprograms directly are developed for this problem. First, by minimizing the Euclidean distance, a multiplicative update algorithm is proposed, and its convergence under mild conditions is proved. Based on it, we further propose another two fast parallel methods: α-SNMF and β -SNMF algorithms. All of them are easy to implement. These algorithms are applied to probabilistic clustering. We demonstrate their effectiveness for facial image clustering, document categorization, and pattern clustering in gene expression.